- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
- Spend £10 on Kindle Books, get £3 in Kindle Book credit. Limited-time special offer. Offer valid till 26 November 2020.
The Art of Statistics: Learning from Data (Pelican Books) Hardcover – 28 Mar. 2019
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
- ISBN-10 : 0241398630
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241398630
- Dimensions : 14.4 x 4 x 22.2 cm
- Publisher : Pelican (28 Mar. 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 157,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
Important and comprehensive (Hannah Fry New Yorker)
The Art of Statistics is in the great educational tradition of its publishing imprint, Pelican Books: an attempt to get everyone up to speed with the practical uses of statistics, without pages of terrifying equations or Greek letters. In a series of spry, airy chapters, he succeeds fabulously ... Lucid and readable. In an age of scientific clickbait, 'big data' and personalised medicine, this is a book that nearly everyone would benefit from reading. (Spectator)
Shines a light on how we can use the ever-growing deluge of data to improve our understanding of the world . . . The Art of Statistics will serve students well. And it will be a boon for journalists eager to use statistics responsibly - along with anyone who wants to approach research and its reportage with healthy scepticism. (Nature)
This is an excellent book. Spiegelhalter is great at explaining difficult ideas . . . Yes, statistics can be difficult. But much less difficult if you read this book. (Evening Standard)
Like the fictional investigator Sherlock Holmes, Spiegelhalter takes readers on a trail to challenge methodology and stats thrown at us by the media and others. But where other authors have attempted this and failed, he is inventive and clever in picking the right examples that spark the reader's interest to become active on their own. (Engineering and Technology)
What David Spiegelhalter does here is provide a very thorough introductory grounding in statistics without making use of mathematical formulae. And it's remarkable. Spiegelhalter is warm and encouraging - it's a genuinely enjoyable read ... This book should be required reading for all politicians, journalists, medics and anyone who tries to influence people (or is influenced) by statistics. A tour de force. (Popular Science)
David Spiegelhalter is probably the greatest living statistical communicator; more than that, he's one of the great communicators in any field. This marvellous book will transform your relationship with the numbers that swirl all around us. Read it and learn.
Do you trust headlines telling you . . . that bacon, ham and sausages carry the same cancer risk as cigarettes? No, nor do I. That is why we need a book like this that explains how such implausible nonsense arises in the first place. Written by a master of the subject . . . this book tells us to examine our assumptions. Bravo. (Standpoint)
David Spiegelhalter combines clarity of thinking with superb communication skills and a wealth of experience of applying statistics to everyday problems ... Enjoyable as well as informative: an engaging introduction for the lay person who wants to gain a better understanding of statistics. Even those with expertise in statistics will find much within these pages to stimulate the mind and cast new light on familiar topics. A real tour de force which deserves to be widely read.
About the Author
From the Publisher
How can statistics help us understand the world?
An ambitious study conducted on over 4 million Swedish men and women whose tax and health records were linked over eighteen years enabled researchers to report that men with a higher socioeconomic position had a slightly increased rate of being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
But did all that sweating in the library overheat the brain and lead to some strange cell mutations? The authors of the paper doubted it: ‘Completeness of cancer registration and detection bias are potential explanations for the findings.’ In other words, wealthy people with higher education are more likely to be diagnosed and get their tumour registered, an example of ascertainment bias.
Plotting the responses from a recent UK survey revealed various features, including a (very) long tail, a tendency to use round numbers such as 10 and 20, and more partners reported by men than women. It is incredibly easy to just claim that what these respondents say accurately represents what is really going on in the country. Media surveys about sex, where people volunteer to say what they get up to behind closed doors, do this all the time.
An IARC report concluded that, normally, 6 in every 100 people who do not eat bacon daily would be expected to get bowel cancer. If 100 similar people ate a bacon sandwich every single day of their lives, the IARC would expect an 18% increase in cases of bowel cancer, i.e. a rise from 6 to 7 cases out of 100. That is one extra case in all those 100 lifetime bacon-eaters, which does not sound as impressive as the relative risk (an 18% increase) and might serve to put this hazard into perspective.
There is a considerable interest in the so- called ‘volume effect’ in surgery – the claim that busier hospitals get better survival rates, possibly since they achieve greater efficiency and have more experience.
When considering English hospitals conducting children’s heart surgery in the 1990s, and plotting the number of cases against their survival, the high correlation showed that bigger hospitals were associated with lower mortality. But we could not conclude that bigger hospitals caused the lower mortality. We cannot conclude that the higher survival rates were in any sense caused by the increased number of cases– in fact it could even be the other way round: better hospitals simply attracted more patients.
Customers who read this book have also read
Top reviews from United Kingdom
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This book takes real world questions and shows you how they've been answered introducing various statistical techniques as it does so. It does this whilst aiming to avoid "getting embroiled in technical details". The questions picked are quite interesting subjects like "why do old men have big ears?", "how many trees are there in this planet?" (an estimated 3.04 trillion if you must know) or what height will a son/daughter be given their parents' heights and so on with some of the questions being based on work the author has been involved in during his career. Relating the problems to real life helps make the text appeal not only to statisticians (to which this book is dedicated) but also to non-technical readers "who want to be more informed about the statistics they encounter both in their work and in everyday life."
Some of this is not new stuff, e.g. early bits on presentation of data such as 3D pie charts not being useful for comparing proportions. But the book does get more involved as you work through it getting deeper in statistical techniques making it harder to understand and requiring more concentration, and the author is aware of this, for example asking if it is "all clear? If it isn't then please be reassured that you have joined generations of baffled students". Also the conclusion congratulates you for getting to the end.
Useful stuff in here for me was the chapter on regression (which is what I use more commonly than much of the rest), and the last couple of chapters after the hard stuff were good reading too, showing bad examples and good examples of statistics from journals and the like and explaining why (offering learning points).
Technical stuff is relegated to the technical glossary so this book is readable (which is good for a book about statistics), although still hard in places. For my work it has been useful and I'm glad I read it and have it for future reference.
After reading a positive review of this book in the UK edition of the Spectator I bought a copy via Amazon. I am so glad I did, for it explained to me what I have been missing in Statistics all my working life, which is now past. Using just plain words in a style that is not talking down to the reader, David 'Mirrorholder', guided me through the beautiful world of statistics. It is evident that not only did David master statistics, but had such an insight, that he could teach others as a master of his subject. I am so glad that did put pen to paper.
However, I do have a comment about the print quality of the book. My copy was printed and bound in Britain. The quality control was not enough. The meandering right hand margin that ranged from 16 to 11mm (I think the objective was a 15mm wide margin) was most distracting.
After nearly 25 years of reading research papers as a Chartered Physiotherapist and having done an MSc in Health Services Research, this is undoubtedly the textbook I wish I had as an undergraduate.
Starting with the ‘why’ of statistics, the rationale and methodology of stats becomes instantly clear to all. Easy to read, candid about his own difficulties (eg. labelling ‘excess deaths’ during Bristol Heart Scandal), Sir David Spiegelhalter has written a modern classic.
Statistical and risk literacy should be intrinsic to all of us; learning to drive, ride a bike, cooking etc are effortlessly pursuits. Invest in this text and you are committing to freedom from statistical ignorance. Buy 2 and gift a friend.
The reason this is such a rare thing is that there simply aren't many people who can combine a world-leading scientific mind with storytelling skill and writing clarity. David Spiegelhalter's varied career means that he's been on the inside of so many fascinating statistical detective stories, from how it's possible to spot a serial killer like Harold Shipman to analysing who lived and died during the Titanic disaster, and he uses these real life examples to lift the veil on what many people think of as the dark art of statistics. By the end of it there won't be many readers who haven't had several 'lightbulb moments' as they finally realise what their school teachers had clumsily tried to explain in turgid mathematical language - much easier in fluent, readable English!
From A-level science students up to practising legal, medical, financial, economic and science professionals, it should be required reading on many a syllabus and reading-list - but don't that let you think it's a hard read. The charmingly readable style, footnotes that make you smile, and stories that engross, make this book a pleasure to spend time with.